There may be Pearly Gates, but..
There may be pearly gates, but does the contemporary Christian church truly climb that holy stairway to them?
Brennan Manning was buried in 2013 as an elderly man. He had reflected long, and wrote much about a far more elderly Christian church. Manning's Christian faith is read and heard well beyond his grave.
His words echo clearer and clearer each day. He slams all our easy-believism, likewise he hammers religion of the head that does not reach into the heart.
Within a shadow of the prophetic he continues to be correct:
- We have spread so many ashes over the historical Jesus that we scarcely feel the glow of His presence anymore.
- Religion is a matter not of learning how to think about God, but of actually encountering Him.
- Have I grown complacent with what I give because it conceals what I withhold?
- Any spirituality that does not lead from a self-centered existence to an other-centered mode of existence is bankrupt.
- Grace will always be a banana peel for the orthodox foot and a fairy-tale to grown-up sensibility.
- Sheer scholarship alone cannot reveal to us the gospel of grace. We must never allow the authority of books, institutions, or leaders to replace the authority of knowing Jesus the Christ personally and directly.
- The Pharisee savors impeccable conduct, the child delights in the relentless tenderness of God.
- God's love is based on nothing, and the fact that it is based on nothing makes us secure. Were it based on anything that we do, and if that 'anything' were to collapse, then God's love would crumble as well.
To be my own unique self in a world full of voices contrary to the gospel requires enormous fortitude. In this age of much empty religious talk and proliferating Bible studies, idle intellectual curiosity and pretensions of importance, intelligence without courage is bankrupt ... of what value is learning that does not turn to love? (p102 'The Rabbi's Heartbeat', Navpress Colorado Springs 03)
For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. (Hosea 6:6)